Vermont has no shortage of natural wonders. Its landscape is bedecked with coniferous forests; the evergreen is a hardy and loyal compatriot of the place. Artist and master glassblower Simon Pearce was inspired by those pristine and familiar surrounds when creating the Enchanted Forest, a classic 20-piece collection that looks both nostalgic and modern—a serious feat for holiday decoration.
Comprised of individual trees, the collection has been a Simon Pearce tradition for years, owing much to its craftsmanship and technique. Trained in Ireland, Pearce established his studio in the early 1980s, taking up space in a former woolen mill in Quechee, VT, today an emerging ski destination. Lauded for his crystalline stemware, lighting, tabletop and decoration, Pearce is also revered for his clean, unfussy aesthetic, a boon for the quietly decorative among us.
Each tree in this series is made by two—or sometimes three—glassblowers working together. Glass is not a forgiving art; Artisans have to catch the molten glass at the just the right temperature and consistency in order to shape and manipulate each form. Some are as petite as 6 inches, while others tower at 26 inches. Then, after all that urgency, patience has to be applied, as the cooling times for each tree varies, often taking between 24 and 48 hours.
Two new designs have been added to Enchanted Forest this year. The Snowy Branch Evergreen is a translucent rendition of the Vermont favorite, dusted in fresh white powder. The trees are so detailed that even the air bubbles enhance the frosted effect. The Five-Sided Evergreen takes the handcrafted nature up a level, as the collection’s established tree designs have only three sides.
While each tree can be purchased individually (and many collectors add to their grouping every season), this year’s clarion woodland is particularly luxe, as there hasn’t been a grouping as large or as varied as this one. The full Enchanted Forest set is priced at $5,000 and has the additional benefit of illumination. The collection features LEDs with various settings for brightness (including a twinkling mode), and it also includes a smart timer.
While it is always a matter of personal preference, the Simon Pearce holiday look is unstuffy. Pearce and his wife, Pia, style the trees down the middle of a banquet table (as shown) or interspersed with candles or hurricane lamps. The pair have had a few Enchanted Forest trees perch on mantles or across windowsills. The glow of glass and seasonal light is hard to beat, but there is also magic in the fact that true, Vermont-style seasonal ambiance can be had without an assault of spruce-scented candles.